Your body is phenomenal. It can be difficult to conceptualize what we are truly capable of as human beings. Your health, happiness, and choices today can affect your future children before they are even conceived. To offer the best foundation possible, it’s essential to make healthy choices now.
There are many different sources of disruption in fertility for both men and women, including:
Long-term oral contraceptive
Heavy metal or chemical exposure
High alcohol intake
Estrogen dominant disorders and estrogen exposure to males
While some infertility factors are beyond your control, nutrition, and lifestyle are within your control and can contribute to the overall health of future children.
With our world and food becoming more toxic, and our lives becoming more stressed, we see a rise in chronic illnesses in children. We do not have control over the world around us, but we are responsible for what our lives look like and what we choose to put into our bodies.
Healthy fertility includes detoxing, eating the right diet, drinking enough water, keeping active, taking the right supplements, and managing stress. How can you prepare yourself for a healthy conception and pregnancy that offers a solid foundation for your future child?
1. Healthy weight. How you eat and what you eat are both important. Diets do not work, and therefore slowly making healthy lifestyle and nutritional changes for the long term is optimal.
Balancing blood sugar throughout the day is key to weight loss. This is done by keeping to three meals a day without snacking for optimal digestion, balancing healthy protein, fat and vegetable intake, and avoiding refined carbohydrates.
Movement is crucial as it keeps the body strong and keeps the body and mind in a natural, healthy flow that protects against stagnation. Stagnation of thoughts and of the physical body may lead to illness.
(Bonus Point: During pregnancy, a woman of average weight should gain about 25 pounds.)
2. Mind your macros. Proteins are the building block of every cell in the body and are essential for overall health, detoxification, mood, sleep, energy, ability to deal with stress, and more. Do not be afraid of animal proteins, including red meat. What you need to focus on is healthy sources of these proteins, like free-range and grass-fed. The health of the animal affects your health.
Fat is necessary for fertility because it is a building block for healthy hormones. Healthy fats are essential for life, and a low-fat diet is almost always a bad idea. Healthy fats do not create health risks or cause weight gain. In fact, healthy fats help with weight loss and increased fertility. Wild-caught salmon, avocados, olives, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds are fabulous healthy fat sources.
Carbohydrates are about 1% of the human body’s makeup, so by themselves, they do not provide the best building blocks for future children. Some carbs, including white bread, pasta, and sweets, can satisfy you for a short time, but you quickly want to eat more. They can stop you from eating the healthy fats and proteins your body really needs. Stick to whole food, low-medium glycemic index carbs (fruits, sweet potato, quinoa, oats, brown rice).
Don’t forget about water. You are 50-60% water, but a newborn baby is 78% water. When you are dehydrated, your body doesn’t work as well, especially the reproductive organs.
3. Check in on your micros. Vitamins and minerals have many jobs in the body and are building blocks for essential enzymes and hormones. They are required for life. An excellent way to maintain a healthy mineral balance is to use a high-quality Himalayan sea salt because of the synergistic blend of minerals. Zinc, specifically, plays a role in libido, the reduction of oxidative stress, and healthy sperm. Low iron levels are linked to a lack of ovulation.
Get your antioxidants through colorful fruits and veggies. A diet high in antioxidants like vitamin E, vitamin C, and selenium plays a massive role in fertility for both sexes as they protect the reproductive organs from oxidative stress.
4. Detoxification. Focus on clean, whole food eating. When planning your detox, incorporate herbal detox teas and include detoxifying leafy greens like bok choy, Swiss chard, parsley, dandelion, kale, and cilantro.
Cilantro protects against heavy metals, functions as a digestive agent and anti-inflammatory, relieves intestinal gas, balances blood sugars, and optimizes cholesterol levels. Artichokes, asparagus, and celery support the liver and kidneys. Garlic is an excellent tool as it can boost immune function while killing off unhealthy bacteria/yeast overgrowth in the gut.
5. Supplement. Essential supplements include a high-quality multivitamin with methylated forms of vitamin B12 and folate, Vitamin D with K and magnesium. A triglyceride form fish oil heavy in DHA (I like Designs for Health and Nordic Naturals brands).
The amino acid arginine can also be helpful as it plays a role in sexual function and fertility. Arginine can work as a natural alternative to Viagra and can increase sperm count and motility. In women, arginine increases cervical secretions and mucus during ovulation.
6. Avoid. Focus on cooking slowly on low heat with healthy oils and grass-fed butter. Try not to overcook, and avoid eating fried, blackened or charred foods to protect against oxidative damage.
Limit soy isoflavones as they are similar to estrogen in chemistry and are related to decreased sperm count for men.
Be mindful at the grocery store that many processed foods contain harmful fats and proteins and excessive amounts of carbs and sugar that are damaging to the brain and may cause weight gain, infertility, and oxidative stress.
Harmful chemical additives, artificial colorings, preservatives, pesticides, fungicides, and heavy metals lurk everywhere. None of these belong in a newborn’s body and can have a negative effect on a baby’s development.
7. Watch out for infection. If you suspect an infection like yeast/bacterial overgrowth in the gut, it is crucial to address this before conception. Signs and symptoms include gas, bloating, sugar cravings, tongue coating, fatigue, brain fog, achy muscles, stiff joints, and mood swings.
8. Mind your mood. Hormone levels change with different emotions. Stress causes higher adrenaline and norepinephrine, which trigger fight or flight reactions and defensiveness. Healthy levels of dopamine and serotonin are released when you are at peace.
Mindfulness of which healthy stress management technique works best for you can help, as your ability to deal with stress can set a beautiful and loving foundation.
You may not have control over the world around you, but if you choose to eat well, boost your overall nutrition and add supplements when needed, keep an active lifestyle, detox and be mindful of your thoughts, you’re setting yourself and your future child up the best you can.